Industry CFOs Want Recruits to be Complete Finance Professionals: ACCA Research

KARACHI (February 22, 2013) – Majority of Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) looking to appoint new staff for their businesses say they should ideally have both a breadth and depth of finance expertise and capabilities, a new report from ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) reveals.

ACCA asked CFOs what was important to them when it comes to appointing newly qualified accountants and what skills enable them to grow their business, particularly since the financial crisis. The resulting report, The Complete Finance Professional: Why breadth and depth of finance capability matter in today’s finance function outlines why broad-based finance qualifications remain valuable in economically turbulent times.

Arif Masud Mirza, Head of ACCA Pakistan said: “ The environment in which finance professionals now work – one which is increasingly volatile, complex and competitive – requires them to have a broader range of finance skills – and this is certainly the case in Pakistan. Finance functions have to excel in a wide range of capabilities, including supporting businesses, managing risk, developing effective strategies for growth, driving financial insight and ensuring statutory and regulatory responsibilities are met.”

Key findings from the 500 global finance professionals surveyed for the report show:

  • 96% said newly qualified finance professionals should know about financial management; 94% said it was important to have a good understanding of professionalism and ethics. Management skills scored 73%.
  • 61% said the best grounding for a newly qualified finance professional to become a future leader was a full appreciation of financial and management accounting.
  • 89% said that understanding the links between all areas of finance enabled recruits to minimise future financial risks, with 88% saying it enabled them to deal with financial challenges. 80% said it would enable their new recruit to take their career in any direction they chose.
  • When it comes to sustainable business growth, 76% said it ‘really adds value to their business’ for finance professionals to have the complete finance knowledge and skills set, from both financial and strategic management accounting.

Mr Mirza said: “The fact that finance staff should have a broad range of skills and expertise is important to CFOs – should also ensure it is of equal importance to individuals looking to plan their careers and maximise their employability.”

Mr Adamjee Yakoob, FCCA and CFO of Citibank Pakistan, said: ”A strong grounding in accountancy, finance and management as well as the regulatory and legal context is what gives me confidence in new hires. This is also where the ACCA qualification differentiates itself from generalist degrees. Finance professionals are nowadays not only expected to provide a reality check but be business partners by managing funding sources and analyzing investment proposals. They must have a strong acumen for applying financial concepts and structuring problems along with providing viable solutions. As far as soft skills go – integrity, professionalism, the ability to collaborate with and manage diverse stakeholders are paramount.”

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